Volume 28 Number 28
                      Produced: Fri Nov 20  7:49:26 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chalav Yisroel (2)
         [Steiner Mark, Akiva Miller]
DNA testing
         [Ray Well]
Hunger Strikes, Fasting, Health and Halacha
         [Russell Hendel]
Ketubah Settlements
Making Kiddush on Friday Night between 6 and 7
         [Stuart M. Wise]
Milk from non-jewish companies
         [Israel Rubin]
Milk in Chutz L'Aretz
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Rabbi's Contract
         [Elliott Hershkowitz]
Request for kosher food
         [Gerry Sutofsky]
Voting to renew a Rabbi's contract
         [Sheldon Shulman]


From: Steiner Mark <marksa@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 14:52:51 +0200
Subject: Re: Chalav Yisroel

A question.  Did anyone ever SEE Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, drink
non-chalav yisroel milk or use non-chalav yisroel dairy products?

    This is equivalent to saying, did R. Moshe z"l take his own
decisions seriously.
    I never had the privilege of even meeting R. Moshe, but there is an
interesting parallel to this question which R. Moshe discusses himself.
This is the question of blended whiskey which R. Moshe discusses in at
least two responsa to R. Teitz z"l.  Blended whiskey has two
"problems"--it might contain wine, and it might contain glycerine.  At
least these are the two premises which R. Moshe accepts for the purpose
of the responsum.  R. Moshe here decides for leniency on both of these
issues--the wine, because (he decides) as proportion of 1:6 is enough to
obliterate the wine in the whiskey (not 1:60), and the glycerine because
(he says) it is tasteless.  Now in each of these issues, especially the
wine, there are already major disputes among the poskim, so R.  Moshe
you could say is deciding a contested halakha--lekula.  In the case of
chalav yisrael, R. Moshe is claiming that U. S. government supervision
is what the gemara had in mind (so this is not a kula).  In this, by the
way, R. Moshe is supported by the Hazon Ish, who has a deep analysis of
the concept of gezera--I won't repeat a posting to mail-jewish I sent in
a few years ago which gives an account of the Hazon Ish's reasoning.

Now, R. Moshe tells R. Teitz that since what he is arguing is a kula,
which is already contested in earlier generations, it is appropriate for
pious Jews to be strict with themselves and not drink, in their houses,
blended whiskey.  But, he says, when he (R. Moshe) is in company (e.g. a
kiddush in shul) he drinks blended whiskey because, after all, it is
permitted (presumably in order not to offend the baal simcha, an ethical
principle which, as we see, R. Moshe made part of his world view, and I
hope we can make part of ours).

So we have written evidence that R. Moshe took his own decisions
seriously on questions far more serious than chalav yisrael.  He was
willing to drink a liquid which might have had nonkosher wine, and
glycerine of animal origin, in order not to offend people (since, of
course, he had ascertained to his own satisfaction that the halakah did
not forbid these things).

Mark Steiner

From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 09:53:42 -0500
Subject: RE: Chalav Yisroel

From: Aaron D. Gross <adg@...>
> A question.  Did anyone ever SEE Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, drink
> non-chalav yisroel milk or use non-chalav yisroel dairy products?

I don't think anyone ever even CLAIMED that Rav Moshe actually drank
non-chalav yisrael milk himself, only that he allows it according to the
halacha. In fact, he writes that it is good to be strict, and that he
personally is strict.

[Similar reply from: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...> - Mod.]


From: Ray Well <harhas@...>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 09:55:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: DNA testing

What is the halacha about the reliability of DNA testing, is it considered
halachicly reliable? Suppose a dead body is found missing the parts that
could identify it according to halacha, but it could absolutly identified by
DNA testing by a known blood sample or from an identical twin, would his
wife be allowed to remarry?

what if someone is considered to be someone's child, but DNA testing
excludes this possibility, would he/she be denied inheriting the parents

Many other halachic examples could be considered. I'm curious if anyone
knows any halachic discusion of DNA testing, and what the conclusion was.



From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 16:23:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Hunger Strikes, Fasting, Health and Halacha

In fact, it is a positive rabbinic commandment for an individual to
undertake a religious fast when tragedies befall him (Rambam, FASTS,
1:9-- The rambam relates this to the rabbinic commandment for a
community to fast on communal tragedies (FASTS, 1:4)--these rabbinic
commandments are attached to the Biblical commandments of communal
prayers for communal traumas (FASTS 1:1).

As to health concerns, the laws are explicit that
          * we do not enact fasts on CONSECUTIVE days (FASTS 1:5)
          * Pregnant, nursing women and minors don't fast (FASTS 1:7)
          * One can eat at night (only fast by day) (FASTS 3:11)

 From the point of view of health, abstention from food is probably
healthier to eating under conditions of aggravation since the
aggravation causes stress hormones to be secreted which intefer with
normal digestion--on the other hand the act of fasting triggers off
certain neurotransmitters which have a calming effect on the troubled

All in all, fasting for personal tragedies is a constructive act of prayer
unless taken to extremes

Russell Jay Hendel; PHd ASA RHEndel @ mcs drexel edu


From: <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 10:31:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Ketubah Settlements

It is not that the provisions of the kesuvah are ignored but that the
parties to a divorce agree that the financial settlement arranged at the
time of the divorce will be considered to meet those conditions.  For
example, if someone owes you a particular sum of money you can agree to
accept a particular property or painting instead and state that you are
not requiring the other person to provide you with a specific appraisal.
Similarly, if you invest in a business with an agreement to get a
certain percentage of the profits, you can agree to receive a specific
sum of money instead rather than making the other person get a detailed
financial statement and calculate how much you are owed.  This is the
basis of the heter iska.

Another example can occur when a nonJew and Jew are partners.  In order
to avoid problems with Shabbos, the Jew agrees that the nonJew will
receive all the profits of the business generated on Shabbos and the Jew
will receive all the profits of the business generated on Sunday.  They
will split the profits generated the rest of the week (This is an
oversimplification of a more complicated set of halachos).  Instead of
calculating the profits each day, they can agree to assume that Shabbos
and Sunday have generated equal profits and just split the net profit at
the end of the year.



From: Stuart M. Wise <swise@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 98 11:38:39 -0400
Subject: Making Kiddush on Friday Night between 6 and 7

Although I was raised frum and have always lived frum, I must admit I
felt ignorant about something the status of which I am not
sure. Recently we had a Shabbos guest who requested that we make Kiddush
before 6 p.m.  (or after 7p.m.).  He explained that according to the
Zohar (and later I heard, according to the Magen Avraham), that 6-7 hour
is when the mazel of Madim (Mars) is sholet, and that one should also
make kiddush only on red wine if one does make kiddush during that hour
(apparently lubavitch do this customarily).

Until this incident I never heard of this custom, but as I retold the
story, others have said either they follow this practice or try to.  I
don't understand why we, who are not supposed to follow the mazalim or
feel we're controlleed by mazel, would follow such a custom, and what is
the connection between Mars and making kiddush?  And what happens if one
does make Kiddush during that hour -- and doesn't use the right kind of

Stuart M. Wise
Leader Publications
(212) 545-6168


From: <Israel_Rubin@...> (Israel Rubin)
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 11:31:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Milk from non-jewish companies

In response to message about R' Ahron Kotler ZT'Ls opinion in this
matter: I have heard several times that back in the 40's-60's there were
many Jewish farmers in the Lakewood area (Howell, Farmingdale, Freehold,
Jackson etc.), and it was from these people that the yeshiva purchased
it's milk supply.  There were indeed people (not "Chasidim" from what I
heard) who wanted to buy milk from the cholov yisroel companies, but
this dispute concerned the level of religious observance of these
farmers, and had nothing to do with the opinion of R' Moshe Feinstien
(who held that knowledge is considered a substitute for seeing for
purposes of the prohibition on milk).


From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 09:14:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Milk in Chutz L'Aretz

Regarding the Chalav Yisrael discussion: one mitzva that will eliminate
the issue of chalav yisrael (as well as bishul yisrael, pat yisrael,
etc.) is -- moving to Israel!

But more to the point, I work now in a dairy farm in Israel, and have a
question I don't remember seeing brought up when I lived in the States
(where I happened to work as a mashgiach kashrut). Tnuva (the
agricultural cooperative to whom we sell our milk) has a policy that we
should consult with their rabbinate (the Rav of Tnuva is R' Zev Whitman
(sp?)) about any surgical procedures done on cows -- Caesarean sections,
etc. This is because of the risk that these procedures can cause the cow
to no longer be kosher.

Is this a concern in Chutz L'aretz as well? If so, that could cause
significant problems -- since I assume most dairies don't have that
level of supervision and cooperation with kashrut authorities. I have
heard that this is a relatively new psak -- does anyone know the
background to it? Are there opinions who say it is not a concern?

-David Curwin
Kvutzat Yavne, Israel


From: <EEH43@...> (Elliott Hershkowitz)
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 10:14:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rabbi's Contract

Prior to making an answer to Mr. Safier's posting in Volume 28, Number
22 it would be prudent to find out the true question and to seek
Rabbinic advice before making an answer.  This forum has been well
moderated from the start and it does not seem to have been intended to
act as an electronic Beit Din or to supersede a Beit Din already
considering an issue.

While I would not deny anyone the use of a public forum it is only
responsible to warn people that the question is not as simple as it
seems and the answer may have Halachic implications for the responder.

Elliott Hershkowitz


From: <Edgm1@...> (Gerry Sutofsky)
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 18:35:33 EST
Subject: Request for kosher food

 This is being written so that I can get some advice as to how to handle
a particular problem concerning kashrut. Any responses will be greatly
 I work in a public school in Brooklyn. Every year we have a luncheon
sponsored by the school PTA in honor of Teacher Recognition day. As
there are a number of frum faculty members Kosher food is ordered for
those staff members. Requests are made for kosher food from teachers who
are Jewish but not frum and who eat tref all year round. As our kosher
food costs more and might be a burden on our PTA, these teachers are
told that kosher food is only for teachers who "require" not request. My
question is do we deny a Jew the opportunity to eat a kosher meal
because the teacher in charge of getting the kosher meals feels that it
isn't right to ask for a kosher meal if you are not really frum and
don't require it or should an effort be made to get kosher food for all
those who request it. Is there a specific halacha involved here?  I am
trying to rectify a situation which causes conflict and embarrassment
and would appreciate your help and advice

Gerry Sutofsky


From: Sheldon Shulman <Sheldon.Shulman@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 16:32:15 -0500
Subject: Voting to renew a Rabbi's contract

>>Jeffrey Safier asked:

>>What is the halachic opinion on a vote whether to renew a Rabbi's
>>contract or not.  Is it against halacha to vote against a Rabbi?  And
>>what about a commitee to evaluate his performance.

What a loaded question  ?
Thanks Jeffrey.

I'd like to address a peripheral point that the Chasam Sofer mentions in
his teshuvos.
In Europe there was a custom never to sign on a contract that went for
more than 3 years.
The Chasam Sofer gives the following rationale for the minhag.
If a slave is sold to someone and gets sick for an extended period of
time, the gemara in Kiddushin says that as long as he worked 3 years he
owes the owner nothing. (Remember the normal term of a slave is 6 years.
see parshas mishpatim).
If he was sick for more than 3 years - he must make up the time.
Based on this, the Chasam Sofer says a remarkable thing. 
If I sign a committment that obligates me to work for you exclusively
for a period of more than 3 years than I have in essence accepted upon
myself a form of slavery.
The torah says "Avodai Haim" to which Chazal comment "Vlo avodim
Bnai Yisroel are my slaves and no one elses. 
Therefore, he was very much in favor of the custom of not exceeding
three years per contract for Rabbonim.
Some might argue that Rabbonim are a form of avdus regardless of length
:) but in all seriousness, it applies across the board to everyone. 
Remember who your real boss is.

Shlomo Shulman


End of Volume 28 Issue 28